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Alaska Congressman Makes 'Hurtful' Remarks In Wake Of Teen's Suicide, Says Gay Marriage Is 'Bullshazzle'

YoungAlaska's lone congressman Don Young, the House of Representatives' longest serving Republican member, made comments recently at a Wasilla, Alaska high school that have been labeled 'hurtful' by the school's principal Amy Spargo. Alaska Dispatch News reports that many present at the assembly where Young spoke to students found Young's comments on suicide and gay marriage to be both offensive and disrespectful.

Young was asked by teacher Carl Swick about Alaska's high rates of suicide and domestic violence and what particularly he is doing to curb these trends. Young began talking about the role of alcohol and depression in these instances and then, according to witnesses, commented that suicide shows a lack of support from friends and family:

"When I heard 'a lack of support from family' and I heard 'a lack of support from friends,' I felt the oxygen go out of the room, but I gasped as well," Spargo said. "It just isn't true in these situations. It's just such a hurtful thing to say." 

Both Spargo and Swick say a friend of the victim, moved by emotion, shouted at Young, “He had friends. He had support.”

“The kid said, ‘It’s depression -- you know, a mental illness,' ” Spargo recalled. As she remembers, Young replied, “ ‘Well, what, do you just go to the doctor and get diagnosed with suicide?’ ”

At some point during the exchange, several school staffers say, the congressman also used either the words "---hole” or “smartass.” 

Young’s office issued a statement about his conduct Tuesday evening in response to a request from Alaska Dispatch News. 

“Congressman Young was very serious and forthright when discussing the issue of suicide, in part because of the high number of tragedies that affect Alaskan youth. He discussed what he believes are leading causes of youth suicide in our state and shared some suggestions for helping family members and friends who are dealing with suicidal thoughts,” spokesman Matt Shuckerow wrote in an email. “In no way did Congressman Young mean to upset anyone with his well-intentioned message. In light of the tragic events affecting the Wasilla High School community, he should have taken a much more sensitive approach.”

Later in the assembly, student Zachary Grier asked Young about his position on same-sex marriage:

“I asked why is it so bad in your eyes?” Grier said.

As Spargo described it, Young answered, “You can’t have marriage with two men. What do you get with two bulls?”

Witnesses say Young then said something about a lot of "bullshazzle" or some word resembling the more familiar obscenity.

“At that point I was heading for the microphone," the principal said. "It was time to be done.” The hour was up, she said, and the tone of the discussion was getting argumentative.

Afterwards, Young spoke with Spargo on his way out and, according to Spargo, said of the student who spoke up about their friend who had recently comitted suicide, "That boy needs to learn some respect."


Kansas Candidates For Governor Debate Gay Marriage: VIDEO

Kansas

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback and his Democratic challenger Paul Davis sparred on Monday night over the issue of gay marriage. Following the Supreme Court's decision to let stand a 10th Circuit ruling invalidating bans on same-sex marriage, a ruling that effects Kansas as the Sunflower State is under the 10th Circuit's jurisdiction, a judge ordered county clerks to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples seeking them. However, that order was put on hold by the state's Supreme Court. With a hearing scheduled for November 6, the fate of the state's 2005 voter-approved marriage ban hangs in the balance. As Talking Points Memo reports, Davis commented that "there is nothing he can do with regards to gay marriage" while Brownback attacked him for not being willing to defend the ban:

Davis was a lawmaker when the Legislature debated [the marriage ban], and he said Monday that he did not support the constitutional amendment because he believed it would have an adverse effect on the welcoming image the state has had for decades. But he added that the people of Kansas decided by a significant majority to put the prohibition in the constitution, and he respects that decision.

"The fact of the matter is that at this particular time there is nothing I can do, there is nothing Gov. Brownback can do to impact this issue," Davis said. "It is in the court system."

Brownback noted that 70 percent of Kansans voted for the amendment.

"There is something that Rep. Davis and I can do on this and that is as governor defend our constitution, and he is not even saying whether he would defend our constitution where our people have voted on this issue," Brownback said.

Brownback also held a rally Monday against gay marriage.

The pair met again Tuesday night for a second debate and again the question of marriage equality arose, with each candidate taking similar postures. 

Watch the second debate for yourself (where the subject of marriage comes up at about the 31:30 mark), AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Kansas Candidates For Governor Debate Gay Marriage: VIDEO" »


Eugene Delgaudio Warns Gay Men Will Terrorize Day Care Centers, 'Pick Out A Little Boy'

6a00d8341c730253ef016303573a75970d-800wiWingnut Virginia Republican Eugene Delgaudio, who heads listed hate group Public Advocate of the United States, has warned supporters that “wedding gown-clad men” are about to “terrorize daycare centers, hospitals, churches and private schools," reports Right Wing Watch.

In a fundraising email sent last week with the subject “They say you support homosexual ‘marriage,’” Delgaudio explained that because of the “homosexual agenda,” you will very soon “see men hand-in-hand skipping down to adoption centers to ‘pick out a little boy for themselves.”

As if that weren’t enough to worry the homophobes, Delgaudio goes on to say that because of “special job rights for homosexuals,” “every homosexual fired or not hired becomes a potential federal civil rights lawsuit.”

The horror gets worse as he warns that “radical homosexuals will terrorize daycare centers, hospitals, churches and private schools.”

6a00d8341c730253ef01b7c6f80891970b-800wiHe also warned that the Student Non-Discrimination Act of 2011 - which he refers to as  the "Homosexual Classrooms Act" - will push the "homosexual agenda" (which appears to encompass safe sex) in schools:

"Your children or grandchildren will be taught homosexuality is moral, natural and good. High school children will learn perverted sex acts as part of 'safe sex' education.

"With condoms already handed out in many schools, radical homosexuals will have little trouble adopting today's 'if it feels good do it' sex-ed curriculum to their agenda."

Last year, Public Advocate of the United States was sued for stealing a New Jersey couple's wedding photo for use in an anti-gay political mailing [pictured above]. Delgaudio was also censured by the Republican party for misuse of party funds.


Lambda Legal to Appeal 'Aberrant' Federal Court Ruling Dismissing Puerto Rico Marriage Lawsuit

Lambda Legal says it will appeal yesterday's ruling from the U.S. District Court of Puerto Rico dismissing a lawsuit challenging the territory's ban on same-sex marriage.

PuertoricoVia press release:

“The court’s ruling directly conflicts with the wave of recent decisions finding these marriage bans unconstitutional and perpetuates the discrimination and harm done to same-sex Puerto Rican couples and their families,” said Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, Staff Attorney for Lambda Legal. “It defies the unmistakable import of the Windsor decision and flies in the face of the blizzard of rulings of the last year, the reasoned rulings of the Courts of Appeals for the 4th, 7th, 9th and 10th Circuits, and the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to let stand the rulings striking down five bans similar to Puerto Rico’s. One struggles to understand how this judge came to a different conclusion.”

“We will, of course, appeal this ruling to the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals,” Gonzalez-Pagan said. “All families in Puerto Rico need the protections of marriage.”

On March 25th, 2014, Ada Mercedes Conde Vidal and Ivonne Álvarez Vélez filed a lawsuit to compel Puerto Rico to recognize their marriage, which they entered into in Massachusetts. In June, Lambda Legal joined and amended that lawsuit to include four more plaintiff couples, two seeking recognition of marriages entered into in other jurisdictions and two who seek to marry in Puerto Rico, as well as an organizational plaintiff, Puerto Rico Para Tod@s.

"It is outrageous that loving committed LGBT couples and their families have been deprived of their civil rights and dignity,” said Pedro Julio Serrano, founder and president of Puerto Rico Para Tod@s. “We are hopeful that justice will prevail and that the equality promised by the Constitution will be upheld."

Other states in the 1st Circuit include Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, all of which have marriage equality.


Judge Upholds Puerto Rico's Ban On Same-Sex Marriage: READ


Juan_Manuel_Perez_GimenezU.S. District Judge Perez Gimenez has issued a ruling upholding Puerto Rico's ban on same-sex marriage. Equality on Trial reports:

Citing Baker v. Nelson and the First Circuit Court of Appeals decision striking down Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) a judge in Puerto Rico has dismissed a challenge to its same-sex marriage ban.

In that DOMA case, Massachusetts v. HHS, the First Circuit had said that Baker v. Nelson is binding precedent on the issue of whether there’s a right to same-sex marriage; they then found that Baker didn’t prevent them from ruling on DOMA, which didn’t involve the states’ regulation of marriage.

The Puerto Rico case can be appealed to the First Circuit, which hasn’t had an opportunity to review challenges to same-sex marriage bans since all the states in that circuit allow same-sex marriage.

The suit challenging Puerto Rico's marriage ban was brought by a lesbian couple, Ada Conde Vidal and Ivonne Álvarez Velez, who sued to have their marriage performed in Massachussetts recognized by the commonwealth. As we previously reported, Conde decided to file the suit after realizing that she would be barred from making medical decisions on behalf of her ailing daughter. Puerto Rico's ban on same-sex marriage was enshrined into law in 1999 after lawmakers amended the U.S. commonwealth’s civil code to ban recognition of same-sex marriages.

Chris Johnson of The Washington Blade also points out that Judge Gimenez was appointed by President Jimmy Carter.

Read the decision, AFTER THE JUMP...

[h/t Chris Johnson]

Continue reading "Judge Upholds Puerto Rico's Ban On Same-Sex Marriage: READ" »


Idaho Governor Says He'll File for Full 9th Circuit to Re-Hear Case Challenging Gay Marriage Ban

Idaho Governor Butch Otter announced today that he will file a petition for the full 9th Circuit Court to re-hear the case challenging the state's gay marriage ban. A three -judge panel of the 9th Circuit struck down the ban on October 7.

OtterSaid Otter's office in a news release:

The Governor said the three-judge panel made some critical errors in its decision, among them failing to apply the correct legal standard to Idaho’s marriage laws. The “en banc” review by 11 judges from the 9th Circuit would enable the State of Idaho to make its case to a larger and more diverse group of jurists.

“One of the key arguments against the Idaho Constitution’s defense of traditional marriage has been that redefining it to include same-sex couples would not harm anyone.  But the Hitching Post example shows the fallacy of that position,” Governor Otter said.

A lawsuit filed in federal court last Friday on behalf of Don and Lynn Knapp, ordained ministers and owners of the Hitching Post wedding chapel in Coeur d’Alene, alleges the couple’s constitutional right to religious freedom would be violated by their city’s 2013 antidiscrimination ordinance if they are compelled to officiate over such ceremonies. The city contends it will not prosecute legitimate nonprofit religious organizations exercising their First Amendment rights.

Added Otter:

“I have repeatedly pointed out to the courts that unaccountable judges imposing their perception of social change on the law – rather than public policy being changed through the democratic process – undoubtedly will lead to increased religious strife and restrictions on private property. For these important reasons, I will continue defending Idahoans’ self-determination and the will of Idaho voters who decided that traditional marriage is a core principle of our society.”

Otter also said in his request that allowing the three-judge panel's decision to stand will violate First Amendment freedom of religion laws. He added that he continues to monitor opportunity for the case to be taken by the U.S. Supreme Court.


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